Four things to beware of from Tar Heels, Georgia

North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora talks up his program at the ACC Football Kickoff in July. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora talks up his program at the ACC Football Kickoff in July. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Let’s look at Georgia’s grand opener at the Georgia Dome from another, decidedly bluer perspective.

North Carolina comes in Saturday a 2.5-point betting underdog, but with no shortage of other positive signs and prospects.

Here are four things the Bulldogs must be most wary of in advance:

Don’t wave off North Carolina.

Yes, I know, as a SEC purist, you automatically suspect anyone from the ACC, just as a Millennial beer snob would a Budweiser. That despite the fact the two conferences are dead even head-to-head the last two seasons.

These Tar Heels are coming off their first double-digit win season since 1997. They are definitely a growth stock, and more real than some of the classes North Carolina had been offering athletes in the past.

This can be a season-defining game for the Tar Heels, and they know it.

Last year, in another rare match-up with an SEC team, the Tar Heels lost a close one to South Carolina. And the sting of that one hasn’t worn off yet.

“We don’t want to blow it, that’s as blunt as I can be,” North Carolina receiver Ryan Switzer said during the preseason ACC Football Kickoff. “I’ve seen repeats (of the South Carolina loss) on the SEC Network, and it really is hard to watch knowing that we let that one get away.

“You usually don’t look back at losses or dwell on wins but that South Carolina game is still really significant. And a majority of the guys on the team this year were playing in that game. They know how it feels as well. It will be about not wanting to feel that way again.”

Chances are, Georgia will get the good Heels.

This is, like most teams, one with an on-off switch. On one hand, its last time out, in a second-tier bowl game, emotionally spent after the Clemson loss, North Carolina was overrun by Baylor (645 rushing yards). It’s also a team that put up nearly as many points against Duke (66) last season as did North Carolina basketball (76 and 73).

Don’t think there’s going to be big let-down in the Dome.

Said Fedora, asked his team’s level of anticipation for the opener: “There is a sense of excitement. You’re getting to play the University of Georgia, which has a tremendous amount of tradition, great fan support, all those things. We know when we walk in that stadium it’s going to be loud and it’s going to be majority red. They’re excited about that. They dream when they’re kids and playing in the backyard of playing in games like this. You want to play against great talent in great atmospheres.”

And, good grief, does North Carolina ever have a puncher’s chance.

Regardless of what Gene Chizik’s defense can muster against Georgia – always a question – offense is the great equalizer for Fedora and the Heels.

Last season they were ninth in big boy college football, scoring an average of 40.7 points per game. “And I believe that we have the talent to be better than our numbers said we were last year,” said Fedora, relying on a deep pool of receivers, running back Elijah Hood and rising junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky (who while awaiting the departure of Marquise Williams completed 85 percent of his 47 pass attempts last season).

Georgia is not the only partner in this dance who is eagerly anticipating new leadership behind center.

Here is one coach not shy about naming his starting quarterback for the opener. One not given to underselling his guy, either. “(Trubisky) knew his time was coming (after a three-year wait) and his time is here. I think he’s excited about it,” Fedora said.

“No doubt in my mind that he’s prepared because of the reps he’s had. Meaningful reps in games and in terms of spring where he was the No. 1 quarterback. Nothing is going to rattle him. I expect him to perform pretty well.”

Reader Comments 0

23 comments
ToccoaGT1
ToccoaGT1

Quarterback issues may doom doggie regurgitation, err..resurgence?


twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

UGA will do what tech couldn't in 90. Beat the heels.

SHARED

dawg fan
dawg fan

By the way, where do you guys in the media get this stuff?  Nobody is overlooking UNC.  We are all actually very nervous about this game for obvious reasons.  I swear you media guys live in a fantasy land.  If anything you should be writing about UNC overlooking us because it looks like Eason will be the starter.  According to conventional wisdom he'll throw 5 picks in the 1st half and be sucking his thumb in mommy's lap by the 3rd quarter.  We have no chance.  One media blowhard said that UNC would be "licking its chops" to face Eason.  So it would seem that if anyone is going to be overlooking anyone it would be UNC overlooking us.  I don't expect that because Fedora is a good coach and UNC is a good team.  Geez. Every time we play a game like this some media dude feels the need to lecture us on how we shouldn't overlook the other team.  Every time!!!  Enough already.      

10Dawgs
10Dawgs

@dawg fan  UGA vs Hawaii, Sugar Bowl. EVERY espn guru predicted an upset. Every one of them. Replays are on YouTube if anyone needs to be reminded.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@10Dawgs I remember that.  Mark May?  LOL.  And there were plenty of cautionary lectures from the media about how we shouldn't overlook them.  It's always very condescending, as if we don't know that football is played outside of the SEC and still think the Earth is flat.  It's a complete figment of the media's imagination.   

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

I don't think the number of loses matter as much as the manner in which they lose. To quote Jerry Glanville, " Men, it's one thing to lose, it's a whole other thing to look like we like it" I saw a lot of that over the last eight years.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Harlemdawg Where is Mrs. Landers?.....she should be correcting this obvious grammar Faux Pas?....

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

We are stooping to critiquing grammar on a sports blog now huh TO? You have my empathy. After all, it is probably very painful for you to discuss football.....

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Harlemdawg Not me Harlem......I get caught everyday.....poster named DawgNole, he is a grammar Nazi.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

"Write it right" if you don't like getting caught.

Would make you look half smart for a change, too. All kinds of benefits.

dawg fan
dawg fan

Techies, thanks as always for you interest in Georgia football.  Who is your joke program playing this week?  If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?  That's Georgia Tech football in a nutshell.  Georgia Tech=JOKE. 

GFJacket
GFJacket

Time for the Kemp-Willingham Classic.


There is no better way to kickoff college football.

Hookedonshortpasses
Hookedonshortpasses

sometimes you question the UNC coach....he let a fired coach work for him free....that coach was fired for his treatment of injured players...the new UNC "boss" acted quickly and that less than favorable coach is no longer working for free at UNC.